The Monk's Kettle
Taps: 24 / Bottles: 180
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 84 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
3.9/5 rDev -11.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$$
Let me start by saying that if money is no object, this is an excellent place. The beer selection is great and the food is amazing. You can find great limited beers like The Bruery Papier and Russian River Supplication way after they're gone from all local stores. Unfortunately for most of us who aren't Bill Gates, the Google founders, a big-time professional athlete, or an evil, greedy investment banking executive, money is a thing. Well, that is, until we go to Monk's Kettle. After that, the thing in our wallets that was originally a bunch of money will have completely disappeared.
This place is really, really, ridiculously expensive and marks up beer like most nice restaurants do with wine. I just think that 2.5x or higher wine mark-ups are insane and people are crazy to pay them, and I enjoy the fact that great beer can still be had with a great meal for a reasonable price. Not at Monk's Kettle. You're going to be paying (and I read directly from their beer list) $35 for an AleSmith Speedway Stout (usually $12), $11.25 for a Duvel (usually $3.50), and $28 for a Lost Abbey Judgment Day (usually $10).
However, if you can take the wallet hit and want to impress someone with great food paired with world class beer, this is the place. I had some really excellent food there. There simply aren't many things better than great beer and great food. Last time I went, I had a charcuterie plate, a creamy bowl of tomato soup, and a pulled pork sandwich, along with a La Trappe Isid'Or, a Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, and an '05 North Coast Old Stock Ale (reasonably priced surprisingly!). All were incredible.
Monk's Kettle can really wow you, but you're going to have to hand over the majority of your paycheck for the pleasure. Oh yeah, and it gets crowded and they don't typically take reservations. Go before 6:30 for a weekend dinner unless you want to wait hours for a table. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading to Monk's Kettle to shell out $85 for a beer dinner. D'oh! *Final note: I should also add Jermaine Dupri and Jay-Z to the list of people who don't think money is a thing, since they had a song specifically called, "Money Ain't a Thing."
12-11-2009 18:36:02 | More by nickd717
4.47/5 rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
What a find! A fantastic diamond in the rough of the Mission District. 16th just up from Valencia and right across from Amnesia. Boy, can I pick'em.
It was a small space, but well appointed. The dark wood bar was directly inside to the right. The back bar featured a pair of flanking Japanese/Chinese lions elaborately carved into the equally dark wood. The bar lamp fixtures were reminiscent of the pointed straw hats commonly worn in SE Asia. Come to think of it, the booths along the left wall were very evocative of Japan, with the slatted seats and dividers. The kitchen was also right, just aft of the bar and utilized a zigzag pattern that incorporated chalkboards to list available beers, plus requests and quotations. As I entered, our small world grew smaller as Nick from the Chalet greeted me as I headed to the lav. Much better success than what I encountered in MTYCO. Friendly unobtrusive, attentive. The open nature of the kitchen lent itself to the scents of cooking. I twice salivated over whatever was on the grill. Lovely being an unapologetic omnivore. I simply enjoyed letting my eyes slide around the taps and the BT display. These are great times in which we live, bro!
Beer: Twenty-four (24) taps, 14 of which were CA, 5 Belgian, which is simply a quantification. BTs - around 100 different. Impressive!
11-27-2009 13:14:42 | More by woodychandler
3.06/5 rDev -30.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | $$$$
The Monk's Kettle is a delightful gastro-pub in the Mission District. With a menu of artisan micro-beer and locally-sourced organo-grub, it's just the place to break bread with my be-whiskered brethren on a warm Wednesday night.
The food: there are so many sumptuous morsels. I can't tell you how many times I've come here to gorge myself on vegan chili and baby arugula. But sometimes I like something simple - the proverbial pretzel to go with my proverbial beer, perhaps? At $8.75 the giant crafted pretzel-bread is pricey, but who am I to argue with sustainable mustard? It's downright rustic.
The beer: something is sure to prick up your palate. The selection is ginormous; many are the afternoons I've spent supping samplers at the bar. A crisp ten dollar bill gets you a crisp glass of Pliny the Elder, a lip-smacking DIPA. Or you could splurge on a goblet of earthy Belgiana - an 8 oz pour of Petrus' Oud Bruin goes for a mere $11.50, and 12 oz of the luscious Maredsous Tripel goes for $13.75. Hold me back. They even have the occasional gravity-keg on the manual-pump.
The service: Monk's Kettle extends its observance of the Slow Food movement to its preparation and even the seating before the meal is served. Some of my fellow locovores gripe about it, but I like to think Monk's is preventing repetitive-strain injuries.
Besides, it gives you time to breathe in that refreshing Mission ambiance.
10-07-2009 19:42:33 | More by alfrantzell
4/5 rDev -9.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I stopped here for the first time this week, while in town on business. It's smaller than I expected from the website, and also set up physically more as a bar with tables rather than a restaurant that happens to have a good beer selection. But in general the food was excellent, the kitchen is cranking out some good stuff.
We sat at the bar where there are about 15 seats, but there's also seating for another 20 or so people at tables (which run the length of the bar itself). Not unpleasant, kind of upscale feeling which was odd compared with the neighborhood. The beer selection was very good, about 25 taps (I didn't actually count though), including some good CA beers such as Russian River, Stone, Lost Abbey, Moonlight, and Firestone. Also some good Belgian names (St Bernardus, D'Achouffe, etc) and a choice few UK and German beers. The bottle list is good too but I didn't spend much time with it. One cask ale which was served from a tap in a barrel, no hand pump (just gravity).
The prices were high, higher than Toronados by about $3 per pour. So I probably won't be coming back here just for beer, but the food was excellent so it's not out of the question for dinner.
10-07-2009 10:34:05 | More by TurdFurgison
4.58/5 rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Great stop that unfortunately (though fortunately for my budget) I didn't stop by until my last night in San Francisco.
Atmosphere - Good setup, went early and it definitely started filling up a lot more. I think taking a larger group here might be very difficult if you wanted to have your own table / sit together.
Quality - Lots of great beers available in a variety of styles.
Service - Friendly bartenders who offered an alternative sample after informing me they no longer had Consecration on draft.
Selection - Nice draft list and excellent bottle list.
Food - Only split an order of fries, but found them to be tremendous (in particular the chipotle ketchup, though both the curry and herbed alolis were good as well). I have high expectations for dinner here.
Value - Tremendous selection of high-quality beers and good food build a tab quite quickly. I was very satisfied with my beers and bit of food - and would gladly pay it again. That said, it is expensive. You do get what you pay for.
I'll be stopping by here next time I'm in the area for dinner and recommend this stop for at least a drink and a snack to any beer lover.
09-17-2009 03:37:18 | More by Aenema
3.9/5 rDev -11.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
This has become my one of my mainstays in the city to have a great beer and some good food. The tap list changes at a pretty good pace but not too quickly so you can get a chance to try out something if you see it online a few days earlier. And they get some really good stuff on tap on occasion like a few months ago when I was able to get more than a few glasses of barrel aged TenFidy (which was fantastic).
The place can get pretty crowded so if you come with a group (any more than 2 people) it's going to be a pretty long wait if not impossible to get a table. There are some times in the afternoon when it's not as busy but more and more there's a crowd at all times. (Update edit: Increasingly so crowded that it's impossible to get a table or even into the bar as they are at capacity - ahh.. the joys of the overcrowded, over-hyped mission).
As mentioned before the wait staff is pretty cool (in spite of the crowds) and usually can offer some input on various beers that are either on tap or from the bottle list. And the bottle list has been steadily improving and usually has some outstanding stuff but for a price (it's usually a 2x markup from City Beer Store or other quality retailers).
Overall this place is really what a beer / restaurant should be. There's no attitudes and the atmosphere is laid back. Definitely Toronado could learn a few things on how to run a business as well as customer service but I don't think that will happen any time soon (or at all).
Keep up the good work MK!
08-24-2009 04:06:20 | More by JoeySchlitz
4.63/5 rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Came here on a Monday night a sat at the bar with colleagues from SF. The place was busy, but there didn't appear to be much of a wait, if any. The beertender's had apparently sampled most of the stuff on tap and offered helpful suggestions when asked. Several plates were split among the four of us. All were well prepared and tasty. I will definitely go back next time I'm in town. Decent selection, good food, knowledgeable and friendly staff. The place is small, though. There are, perhaps, 15 or 20 four tops and about a dozen bar seats. I'll make sure to get there early in the week and/or evening, as I believe this place gets packed.
Update - 1/18/11
While the beer and service remains top notch, the menu has changed considerably. I shared four dishes last night and was not impressed (trotters, beef cheeks, confit, and rabbit). All were mediocre at best, lacking the subtlety and finesse you'd expect from upscale dining. The trotters were the best albeit a bit on the heavy side. The beef was well cooked, but accompanied by sauce that combined cloyingly sweet corn with hot-hot horseradish. The rabbit and confit were bland and boring. The only thing upscale was the prices.
07-05-2009 20:15:29 | More by LittleDon
4.08/5 rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I must preface this review with the following:
Fortunately, my wife and I visited here in the afternoon on a Saturday and were able to get a table right away. A couple of brews and some food later, we left. Attempting to return that evening with a friend proved fruitless, as we were greeted with "we're full" at the door. We were given the option of being on the 2-hour waiting list for a table (it was already close to 9pm) or just hanging out at the door and waiting and hoping that someone would leave. Seriously, folks, if you are that busy, get a bigger place. That seemed a bit ridiculous to me, and hence the reason for the deduction in the service score. Our wait staff during the afternoon was great, however.
All that being said, the afternoon visit was great. Atmosphere was good with a lot of friendly people hanging around. Food was delicious, albeit at San Francisco prices (see my comments on La Trappe for more on that). Service was good while actually inside, and selection was pretty amazing. Somewhere I would go to again, but not worth a two-hour wait just to get in.
06-08-2009 19:49:03 | More by route66pubs
4/5 rDev -9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
This bar by far had the most impressive selection of beers out of the places we visited. Pretty expensive and a tad snooty. Once again, I like beer people and want more of them but not the ones who try to make beer a pretentious beverage. Don't be so serious! Small place but not too crowded. Service was good but again, the bar keep was a little snooty. Order a few app's and they were tasty but a little expensive. It's worth the visit for a few good beers but if you stay too long you'll run up a big tab.
04-10-2009 17:13:23 | More by braddo
4.15/5 rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$$
A small, nicely done beer bar/restaurant just a short walk up from the 16th St Bart stop in the Mission. Tight space, but very clean and tasteful with lots of wood and great lighting.
They rotate their beer selection often, especially the west coast crafts. The selection is well chosen, with many local crafts in various styles, a few Belgians on tap, and many Belgians in bottles. I've been a few times when they did not have a session-strength IPA on tap, which I think is a mistake for a high end beer bar, but other than that I usually find at least 2 or 3 beers that I'm excited to drink. The pricing is strange; the local crafts are very reasonable, but the Belgians and even the English imports can be ridiculously expensive.
The food menu is pretty nice, with lots of gourmet twists on typical pub food, and many dishes that use local/organic ingredients. The salads are particularly good. There are burgers, sandwiches and mac n cheese in the $12 range, then there are some entrees upwards of $20.
Atmosphere can be a little loud at night when it gets crowded, but at least they don't blare music to increase the decibel level. If you score one of the few tables, you can have a conversation even when its crowded. Its usually a good crowd of people.
Overall a worthy destination for any beer-minded visitor, and a nice asset for locals too. I can't go here too often though, its hard to get out of here without spending over $50. For pure Belgian bliss, the Trappist over in Oakland is much better; for pure craft beer bliss the Toronado is better, but for a nice mix of the two with very good food and a clean, upscale atmosphere, this is the place.
12-20-2008 21:55:25 | More by bcm119
The Monk's Kettle in San Francisco, CA
97 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.